How to do content marketing on a modest budget

budget_content_marketingMost businesses think that content marketing costs the earth, but it really doesn’t have to. There are plenty of ways to do content marketing on a modest budget, you just need a bit of knowledge and know-how to back you up.

Perfect for a one-man-marketing band with not a lot of change to spare, this quick how-to guide will tell you everything you need to know to get that content marketing wagon rolling.

Content marketing: a quick recap

For those of you who aren’t quite sure, the Content Marketing Institute has a great definition of what content marketing actually is:

“A strategic marketing approach focused on creating and distributing valuable, relevant, and consistent content to attract and retain a clearly defined audience — and, ultimately, to drive profitable customer action.”

So really, aspiring content marketers just need to produce content and get it out there. But how do you do it, without spending a fortune?

How to do content marketing on a budget

You don’t need a lot to set up a killer content marketing strategy. If you’re on a tight budget, a blog and some social media accounts are all you need.

Use audience personas to make sure you’re targeting the right channels (and not wasting money on things you don’t need), then start your killer content marketing campaign!

1. Build a content strategy

Sticking to your plan is an essential part of making sure you don’t overspend when it comes to content marketing.

That’s why the first thing you should do is build a content strategy to help you control every aspect of the content production process.

A content strategy helps you manage content as a business asset. It focuses on the planning, creation and governance of content, but does not include the specifics of individual pieces.

Write this down or document your content strategy in some way, so that anyone else could understand it if they joined your team later on. It’s a great collaboration tool, but is also good for ensuring consistency throughout the content creation process.

It could also end up saving you a bunch of time and money further down the line, so make sure to implement this early on!

2. Create a content marketing strategy

It may seem a tad confusing, but a content marketing strategy is not the same thing as a content strategy. And it pays to know the difference!

Your content marketing strategy is an outline of the larger story your organisation will tell through content marketing practices (your online content).

These strategies are created to ensure that all content has direction, overarching themes and consistent messaging.

The focus of a content marketing strategy is on engaging the audience in a way that suits the brand, so it’s worth outlining your sales funnel and customer journey here too.

What’s the best thing about creating both content marketing strategies and content strategies? They’re absolutely free! Yes, they may take some time to fine tune, but they’ll be there to support you throughout the content creation process.

3. Write brilliant blog content

At this stage, your blog probably looks a little bare or it may just not be having the desired impact. If your company already has some blogs to use, great! But it may be worth auditing them first to make sure they are in line with your content marketing strategy.

If you don’t have any existing content, we suggest creating a bank of 5–10 blogs before you start directing people to this page. They should cover different topics, core customer groups and parts of the sales funnel. This will ensure that your blog seems relevant to your visitors – no matter who they are.

All the blog content you write needs to be of a high quality and provide value to the reader. Use the advice in our 50 ways to write and promote a killer blog article, and you won’t go far wrong.

Top tip: Post a blog at least once a week. Regular posting encourages search engine crawlers to come to your site and index you for organic searches, and it will help you keep in the mind of your reader.

You’ll soon see lots of business benefits of blogs, they:

  • Attract people to your site
  • Establish authority and trust
  • Support the reader
  • Are shareable
  • Produce leads
  • Boost SEO

You don’t have to spend the earth on your blogs. If you write them yourself you just need to donate a few hours a week to creating a top-notch article that will bring people to your site.

4. Create evergreen hub and spoke content

Long-form guides and white papers are an important component of a high quality content marketing strategy – and the way to get the most bang for your buck is to make sure these pieces are evergreen. The last thing you want to do is spend a fortune in time or money creating a guide inspired by current events, when those events will be all but forgotten in a couple of months. Instead, you want to answer the perennial questions of your audience.

The real value, however, lies in leveraging these long-form pieces for a hub and spoke method of content marketing. Take a look at the illustration to see how you can create a whole suite of related materials that can be distributed far and wide, yet which point back to the original piece:

content marketing5. Promote your content – but watch the budget

Creating your content is only half the battle. Promoting it is a whole other ball game and there are plenty of content distribution channels to explore.

Marketers on the smallest budgets can take advantage of clever content promotion. Fire out posts on all of your channels and interact with your followers as they see your content.

Up to this point, the content marketing process has been (almost) entirely free, but social media promotion is the key point to think about some modest spending.

Social media management tools:

For a small monthly fee, you can save enormous amounts of time by using social media management tools like Hootsuite and Buffer. These help you keep control of all your channels and schedule your outgoing content for the coming days/weeks.

Paid social budget:

Firing content out to your existing followers is great, but you have to consider spending a little money to reach new followers.

Through targeted ads on LinkedIn, Twitter and Facebook you’ll be able to reach real people who will be interested in your content.

  • Example 1: Targeted LinkedIn ads can bring people in your desired industry to a landing page for a white paper and drive downloads.
  • Example 2: Facebook sponsored posts can get your blog out to a wider yet specifically targeted audience.

6. Rinse, repeat and reuse!

So, you’ve created content and promoted it. But the fun doesn’t stop there! To build your content marketing momentum you need to keep repeating steps 3–5. This will ensure a steady supply of fresh and engaging content for your reader.

But don’t just forget about the content you already made. Go green and reuse it over and over again! This is a huge money-saver, as it means you don’t have to keep producing new pieces when you have perfectly good existing pieces to reshare!

Here are some top tips for reusing your content:

  • Throwback Thursday is a great time to reshare posts on social media.
  • Repurpose content in different forms (videos, slideshare presentations, infographics, guides, podcast, the works!).
  • Send out on different channels – if you sent it out on social media, why not try it in an email?
  • Choose your best performing blogs to repurpose. Do this by taking a look at Google Analytics data.
  • Make sure the content is evergreen! No dated stuff please!

Repurposing or recycling content is a cheap and easy way to keep followers interested in what you have to say. Make sure it forms part of your content marketing strategy.

Bish bash bosh, that’s your lot! A quick guide to doing content marketing on a budget. Hopefully we’ve helped you out and you’ll be able to reap the benefits of content marketing without the hefty price tag.